Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin.
But why exfoliate?
Exfoliation can reduce breakouts by unclogging the pores, minimize the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles, allow for skincare products to penetrate deeper into the skin and improve collagen production!
As the name suggests, chemical exfoliation uses chemicals such as acids in the removal of dead skin cells and excess oils. Chemical exfoliators loosen the glue-like substance that holds the dead skin cells together. This makes it easier for dead skin cells to be removed.
There are 2 main categories of chemical exfoliators:
AHAs are acids that are water-soluble that focus on ‘peeling’ away the top surface of the skin. This improves cell regeneration and cell turnover to give the skin a fresher, younger and dewier appearance. Recommended for normal to dry skin.
2. BHA (Beta-Hydroxy Acids)
On the other hand, BHAs are acids that are oil-soluble that penetrate deep into the pores. BHAs reach deeper into the pores to dry out excess oil and dead skin cells to unclog the pores. Recommended for sensitive, acne-prone and oily skin.
Both AHA and BHA helps to improve dull, uneven skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles!
Mechanical exfoliation involves using facial scrubs, a facial cleansing brush or a washcloth to remove the dead skin cells that reside on the outermost layer of the skin. If you’ve ever used coffee or sugar scrubs, they are a type of mechanical exfoliation!
Exfoliation can provide numerous benefits as long as you are doing it right. Instead of scrubbing more and harder which can be damaging to your skin, you should be reaping the benefits of exfoliation the right way! So how should you properly exfoliate your skin?
For chemical exfoliation, begin by cleansing your face. Apply the chemical exfoliant with a cotton pad or washcloth. Then, allow the chemical exfoliant to sit on your face for a few minutes. Continue by pat your face dry and apply moisturizer. If your chemical exfoliator requires a mask application, follow the given instructions and apply moisturizer right after as exfoliation can be drying to the skin.
For mechanical exfoliation, begin by cleansing your face. Then, take a coin-size amount of the face scrub and apply it onto your face, making small, circular motions. Exfoliate for approximately 30 seconds and then rinse your face with lukewarm water. Pat your face dry and apply moisturizer!
Avoid exfoliating if you have open cuts or wounds on your skin.
Dry skin: Chemical exfoliators are recommended as mechanical exfoliation may lead to further drying of the skin. So look out for chemical exfoliators containing AHAs as they work especially well for dry skin!
Oily skin: Mechanical exfoliators work well as it removes the layer of unnecessary buildup on the skin.
Sensitive skin: A mild chemical exfoliator would be a better choice for sensitive skin as mechanical exfoliators as can irritate or aggravate the skin further.
Normal skin: Both chemical and mechanical exfoliators are safe for normal skin types. You can experiment and see what works best for you!
Chemical and mechanical exfoliation has its own benefits and is suited for certain skin types. Know your skin type and what it needs to exfoliate your skin the right way! Just remember to take care of your skin because your skin takes care of you.